Vernal Journals

Dinosaur National Monument - It's Not Just Bones

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An October 2000 trip to Vernal by jan&ray

Quarry Visitor Center Photo, Vernal, Utah More Photos
Quote: Most people come to Dinosaur National Monument to visit its famous quarry. However, dinosaur bones are only a small part of this park. Explore its wildernness and you will find magnificent canyons, ancient petroglyphs and abundant wildlife.

Dinosaur National Monument - It's Not Just Bones

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Overview

Dinosaur National Monument  Photo, Vernal, Utah
Quote:
There are two major sections to the Monument: the Quarry and the Canyons. Dinosaur takes its name from the quarry located in the western section of the Monument, near Vernal, Utah. The Quarry Visitor Center is one of the most remarkable Vistor's Centers we have ever seen. It took us more than an hour to complete our tour, and we left feeling like paleontologists! The quarry is only a small part of this Monument, however. The vast majority of its acreage contains no dinosaur bones at all. The canyon scenery here is spectacular. To see it, hike the deep canyons formed by Jones Creek or the Green River. Or, if you have the time, take a float trip. Take a scenic drive, such as th...Read More

Tour of the Tilted Rocks

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Attraction

Tour of the Tilted Rocks Photo, Vernal, Utah
Quote:
The Tour of the Tilted Rocks is a guided motor tour through the Western section of the Monument. This drive introduces visitors to Dinosaur's great diversity. Purchase a Guidebook at the Visitors' Center before you begin. This is a 22-mile round trip and will take approximately 2 hours to complete. The road begins near the Quarry Visitors' Center and briefly offers views of the Green River. Soon it comes to a parking area for the "Swelter Shelter". (The archaeologists who excavated this site in the heat of the summer gave it its name.) It is a short walk to an unassuming cavelike hole in the rock wall. Here ancient projectile points have been found. It is believed that they may date back t...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on November 23, 2000

Tour of the Tilted Rocks
Dinosaur National Monument
Dinosaur National Monument, Utah

The Sound of Silence Hiking Route

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Attraction

The Sound of Silence Hiking Route Photo, Vernal, Utah
Quote:
The Sound of Silence Hiking Trail is a "primitive" route through the varied desert terrain of Dinosaur. Since parts of this trail are difficult to follow, we purchased a trail guide at the Visitors' Center for $0.50. By matching the numbered posts along the trail with the Trail Guide, we were able to complete this 2-mile circuit. The trail began with a hike through Red Wash. This dry streambed is surrounded by vegetation. The Trail Guide helped us to identify some of these plants. Of special note was Tamarisk, an "import" which displaces native plants and wastes water. We left the wash behind and entered an "anfractuosity" - a winding channel in the rock. Here the trail snaked it...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on November 23, 2000

The Sound of Silence Hiking Route
Dinosaur National Monument
Dinosaur National Monument, Utah 81610
(970) 374-3000

Diamond Mountain & Jones Hole Fish Hatchery

Attraction | "Diamond Mountain & Jones Hole Fish Hatchery"

Diamond Mountain & Jones Hole Fish Hatchery Photo, Vernal, Utah
Quote:
This Scenic Backway was actually among the "One Day Self Guided Tour" series we found in the Vernal grocery store. Although this drive is completely outside the boundaries of Dinosaur National Monument, the Fish Hatchery is at the trail head of one of the Monument's best hikes. The Tour heads east from Vernal and skirts the westernmost boundary of the Monument. You will descend to Brush Creek and then climb for 8 miles to the Diamond Mountain plateau. The land here is open and rolling. This is both wildlife and outlaw country. Keep a sharp eye out for animals on the road. We encountered a small cattle drive! After driving 31 miles, you will begin your descent into Jones Hole. Ta...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on November 23, 2000

Diamond Mountain & Jones Hole Fish Hatchery
Near Dinosaur National Monument
Dinosaur National Monument, Utah

Jones Hole Hiking Trail Photo, Vernal, Utah
Quote:
Nearly every Park Service publication we read recommended the Jones Hole Hiking Trial as one of the Monument's best experiences. No words could be truer. We followed the lovely Jones Creek to its confluence with the Green River. Along the way, we learned about Dinosaur's geology, got a close look at Fremont petroglyphs and saw a wide variety of plant and animal life. The trail begins at the Jones Hole Fish Hatchery, which is actually just outside the boundary of Dinosaur. After a few minutes of hiking, you will enter the Monument. Since the trail rarely ventures far from the riverside, it is almost impossible to become lost. After 1.5 miles, you will cross a small footbridge. Just beyond,...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on November 24, 2000

Jones Hole Hiking Trail
Dinosaur National Monument
Dinosaur National Monument, Utah

Quarry Visitor Center

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Attraction

Quarry Visitor Center Photo, Vernal, Utah
Quote:
Paleontologist Earl Douglass came to this area from Pittsburgh in 1908 looking for dinosaur bones. On August 19, 1909, he spotted 8 brontosaurus tail bones protruding from the top of a ledge. Douglass had found an ancient river bottom, buried for 150 million years. Soon, thousands of bones, including many complete skeletons, were excavated from this ridge. In 1915, the quarry was set aside as a National Monument. Douglass had the foresight to leave a portion of the ridge in tact. As a result, visitors to the Quarry Visitor Center can now see more than 1500 bones still embedded in the rock face. This sloping wall forms the fourth wall of the Visitor Center itself. At first, the ro...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on November 22, 2000

Quarry Visitor Center
Dinosaur National Monument
Dinosaur National Monument, Utah

Wildlife Encounter!

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Story/Tip

Wildlife Encounter!  Photo, Vernal, Utah
Quote:
One of the many attractions of the Jones Hole Hiking Trail was the possibility of an encounter with some of the Monument's wildlife. This small stream has made it possible for many creatures to make their homes in the canyon. Aside from the assorted birds, lizards, snakes and toads which live here, there are a wide variety of mammals. Small animals, such as rabbits, skunks, squirrels, mice and marmots are commonly seen. Shyer canyon inhabitants are coyotes, mountain lions and big horn sheep. Our hike from the trail head to the Green River was unremarkable with regard to wildlife. We saw little more than a few birds. Signs in the picnic area warned us not to feed the yellow bellied marmot...Read More